Child Labor Latte Love

I don't know about you, but when I go to a Starbucks, I don't believe for a minute that the organization has a higher social conscience than say, Dunkin Donuts. It just so happens that I'm a sucker for a mediocre latte when I'm on the road and away from my coffee shop. Still, it's not good press when the green mermaid finds itself with a supply base violating child labor laws (especially when trying to extract $4.50 for a jazzed up pint of joe from someone who believes that they're contributing to the Starbucks save-the-world-one-cup-at-a-time philosophy). No joke. Supply Excellence recently reported on the issue citing a Procurement Leaders news article covering the gory non-fair-trade details.

According to Procurement Leaders, "Starbucks is to step up its corporate responsibility efforts after an audit found that over half of its suppliers failed to comply with the company's CSR programme. The Seattle-based coffee-giant ditched 14 suppliers after the audit revealed that its standards in areas such as child labour and payment of wages were not being adhered to." Supply Excellence opines that Starbucks would do well to embrace four principals to get their supply base back on track. These encompass several improved sourcing practices, such as "requests for Information that include questions about the supplier's business practices, including their commitment to ethics programs, corporate responsibility, fair pay, child labor, etc, supplier site visits, better testing and reporting of suppliers and better scorecarding and performance management." What's my take? The Starbucks procurement team should call up Aravo as soon as possible, the one provider who can automate the entire process of managing sustainable and green supplier information.

Disclosure: Aravo is a consulting client of Azul Partners.

- Jason Busch

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